Childress is fired by Vikings

Interim coach Leslie Frazier says Brett Favre will start at quarterback for the Vikings.
Interim coach Leslie Frazier says Brett Favre will start at quarterback for the Vikings. (Andy King)
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By Mark Maske
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 23, 2010

With their would-be Super Bowl season well on its way to unraveling completely, the Minnesota Vikings fired Brad Childress as their coach on Monday and named defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier interim coach for the remainder of the season.

Frazier quickly announced that Brett Favre would remain the Vikings' starter at quarterback for Sunday's game against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field.

"The one thing I'm hoping that all of our players recognize is that we can only do what we can do going forward," Frazier said at a news conference. "And that means our focus and our attention has to be on the Washington Redskins, period. Anything else is really inconsequential to what we have to achieve as a group."

Frazier said he had "no hesitation" keeping Favre as the starting quarterback.

Favre said after Sunday's 31-3 defeat at home to the Green Bay Packers, his former team, that he would re-evaluate his status. Some media members have called for the Vikings to turn to Favre's backup, Tarvaris Jackson.

The coaching move came a day after the lopsided loss to the Packers dropped the Vikings' record to 3-7.

"We just felt that moving forward, this is what the best thing was for the organization," Vikings owner Zygi Wilf said.

Childress became the second NFL coach fired this season, following the Dallas Cowboys' Wade Phillips. Childress called his time with the Vikings "a tremendous experience."

In a written statement released by the team, Childress said: "I have a great respect for the players and coaches who I have worked with and for their dedication to each other and to the organization. I am proud of our accomplishments and believe the foundation of this football team is stronger today than when I became head coach in 2006. I appreciate the opportunity that Zygi, Mark, and the whole Wilf family afforded me and wish them success as they move forward."

Childress was in his fifth season with the Vikings and had a record of 39-35 in the regular season and 1-2 in the playoffs. The team reached the NFC title game last season but lost in overtime at New Orleans. Last November, the Vikings signed Childress to a contract extension that reportedly runs through the 2012 season with a team option for the 2013 season.

The Vikings had aspirations to go a step further and reach the Super Bowl this season, particularly after convincing Favre to put off another retirement and return to the team for a second season. But little has gone the Vikings' way. Favre has 10 touchdown passes and 17 interceptions and is the league's 32nd-rated passer.

Childress was critical of Favre's three-interception performance after a loss at Green Bay earlier this season. There were reports of friction between Childress and Favre, which Favre addressed by saying he didn't always have to agree with his coach. An increasing number of reports in recent weeks indicated that other Vikings players lacked confidence in Childress.

Another report described a heated practice-field argument between Childress and Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin. The team's fans took to calling for Childress's ouster.

The Vikings surrendered a third-round draft choice in a trade for wide receiver Randy Moss this season, but Moss was released after playing only four games for the team. There was speculation after Moss was waived that Wilf might dismiss Childress then over his dissatisfaction with Childress's handling of the matter.

A triumph over the Arizona Cardinals on Nov. 7 may have saved Childress's job temporarily, but the Vikings followed that win with losses to the Chicago Bears and Packers.


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